The Books I Recommend More Than Any Others

For a while now, I have wanted to update my top ten list of books—actually a list of thirteen because ten is too few. This time, my list includes more than thirty books, some by the same author. I could narrow it down to ten, but I don’t want to and I didn’t even try. So, this isn’t really a top ten. It’s not even a top thirty. More, it’s a list of the books I talk about the most. They’re the books I own multiple copies of, the books I buy for others. The books I insist my friends read. The books I recommend more than any others.

I hit on this particular theme while exploring ways to narrow the selection for this post. The next step was to step into my home library and peruse the shelves. I already knew some of the titles I’d be featuring, or some of the authors I’d like to include, but I have so many books (around 2000) that I wanted to bop along the shelves and see what was there. This is one of the reasons I keep a home library. I love visiting with my books. I’ll pause by a series or an author and reminisce for a while. Recall why this book or that series are favourites.

When I got to a book or an author I wanted to include in this post, I pulled the book out. I didn’t set a limit, I just pulled books from A-Z. I counted them when I got to the end, and when I discovered I had twenty-eight authors, I went back for two more books, deciding an even thirty sounded good.

I then divided the books into groups of ten, figuring I’d split the list into three.

I’ll be sharing the list alphabetically by author. Although I love some of these books just a little more than the rest, assume they all clock in at number one. They’re all amazing, fantastic, memorable reads, none more or less deserving than another, regardless of genre, author, or literary merit. They’re the books I adore.

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Top Tens: Novels

As expected, I had a difficult time choosing only ten books to stand as my favourite novels. The first problem I encountered was a purely logistic one. Out of the 1200 or so books I have listed on GoodReads, 191 have a five star rating. I had to choose ten. Logically, I needed to pick my favourite favourites. Logic flies out the window when confronted with a trip down memory lane, however.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein appeared twice. Not sure how or why. It is an important book; I own several copies and I knew going into this that it would have a place in the top ten. What I couldn’t quite articulate was why. I’ve read some terrible reviews. In fact, a lot of Heinlein’s books receive terrible reviews. But, the purpose of this article is not to defend a single author, or my choice of books. I will say I am somewhat hesitant to reread Stranger in a Strange Land, though. It would be terrible if it didn’t live up to my twenty year memory of it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was not on the list. WHY? This book was utterly pivotal in my development as a reader. It changed my life, which is much the reason Stranger in a Strange Land is on the list, not once, but twice. A visit to my library answered the question. I don’t actually own a copy. WHY? Even though many of the books I’ve listed on GoodReads were library books or remembered reads, it’s a ghastly oversight.

Such issues aside, I still had nearly two hundred books to consider. Some could possibly be downgraded to four stars. Looking back, I remembered being captured at the time, but the memory wasn’t as fond. I’d read something better since. By the same token, some of the titles in the four star list could be upgraded. But again, that was not my purpose.

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